Jaren Hall isn’t a man of many words.
Since his days of playing football at Maple Mountain to now stepping into the role of starting quarterback at BYU, Hall has always preferred to let his actions make the biggest statement.
So when he was asked how if feels to be at the helm of the Cougar offense, he just smiled and kept his response simple:
“It feels good,” Hall said Monday during BYU football’s press conference in Provo. “I’m ready to go play, show what I can do and get a win this weekend.”
The hand injury to Cougar sophomore quarterback Zach Wilson during the 28-21 loss at Toledo resulted in Hall now stepping up into the starting role for BYU.
In many ways, however, he has been prepared for this role for a long time.
Some of that preparation came from his time as a Golden Eagle before his graduation in 2016.
“I was able to get reps at quarterback and play at a high level in high school,” Hall said. “I expect the same now in college.”
He also had the advantage of having a father and a brother who both played running back for the Cougars. Jaren Hall’s father Kalin Hall played for BYU from 1992-93, while his brother KJ Hall played for the Cougars from 2015-17.
Jaren Hall said his family has been there for him throughout his journey.
“They’re very proud of me,” Hall said. “I’ve had a chance to talk to them throughout the week and they’re excited to see me play, as any parent would be of their son or daughter in this position. They just said go play and have fun.”
The redshirt freshman also has had opportunities to get quite a few reps leading up to the season. Since Wilson had shoulder surgery in the offseason, Jaren Hall was the main quarterback during spring camp.
“Getting increased reps in the spring versus the fall last year was huge,” Jaren Hall said. “I was catching up to the speed of the game. It’s a lot faster, so I feel like I got a lot more comfortable with the offense and football in general at the college level.”
Most recently Jaren Hall got into the end of the Toledo game and had a chance to run an entire series, so he got some game-time experience as the main signal-caller.
“I think about it a lot, the feelings of being in the game finally, the confidence it gave me to know that I can go in and compete at a collegiate level,” Jaren Hall said. “It was good to get in there with the guys and get the feel of a real game.”
In addition, he knows he has the support of his coaches and teammates.
“He’s extremely confident and I think he’s ready for this moment,” BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said. “I’m really excited for this and I know he’s excited and the players are responding well. Zach Wilson still has a role there as a mentor and to help coach. I think we had really good practices last week with Jaren running the show. It gave some opportunities for Baylor Romney and Joe Critchlow to get some reps as well.”
One of the biggest assets will likely be Wilson himself, who won’t be able to play because of the injury but will still be there provide insight on what he notices going on.
“Zach’s on board,” Jaren Hall said. “He’s a great teammate. He’s still in the meeting rooms with us and on the field to give his perspective and telling us what he’s seeing. He’s very intelligent in football and he knows the game, so he’s been a big help and a great teammate through it.”
The Cougar offensive players don’t expect anything to change with the redshirt freshman in the game.
“Jaren has always been a confident guy in whatever he does,” BYU running back Emmanuel Esukpa said. “I see him as the same because he’s always been ready to do whatever he needs to do to help the team win.”
Esukpa added that while Jaren Hall is fast, the freshman still wouldn’t beat him in a race.
Jaren Hall is one of many former Utah Valley athletes who are currently competing at the collegiate level during the fall season. Check out the list of those who have been able to continue playing the sports they love.